Recent Stories on Sparks

October 4, 2016
The Science of Suicide Prevention
"As volunteers, we hear from people of all ages who speak of broken relationships, financial problems, substance abuse, traumatic histories, homelessness, mental illness, and so much more."

Nimesha Gerlus is a senior concentrating in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is passionate about combining research and clinical care to develop better suicide prevention efforts.

Nimesha Gerlus '17
September 23, 2016
Mining the Dark Corners of America's Racial Present
"The police officer stops just after his second greeting. He tells me that with everything going on in the world he just has to ask, 'Do you hate me?'”

Victor Bramble ‘17 is a Royce Fellow, concentrating in Ethnic Studies and Modern Culture and Media. Victor's research focuses on the ways our increasingly common and mundane experiences with digital media technologies fit within and evolve from histories of colonialism and slavery. For his Royce research, Victor is analyzing and cataloging online news stories and public databases to find the traces of the life and death of Mya Hall. A black, transgender woman, Hall was shot by the Baltimore National Security Agency Police force after take a wrong turn toward their headquarters. Victor believes that Hall’s life and death exemplify the gaps, errors, and inconsistencies of public memory. Through the research, Victor hopes to understand how we can properly remember and mourn victims of structural violence thus informing broader work against transphobic and racist violence.

Victor Bramble '17
September 15, 2016
"I didn’t take it from anyone. I always fought back. Always."

Stefanie Kaufman '17 is a Contemplative Studies & Global Mental Health concentrator and current Social Innovation Fellow. She's working with Project LETS-- an inclusive community for individuals living with mental illness that aims to supplement traditional mental health care with peer support services. Project LETS operates in both Providence, RI and Swaziland.

This is an interview with Babe Dlamini of IMERSE (International Mental Health Resource Services), exploring mental illness, psychiatric oppression, and most importantly, birthdays.

Stefanie Kaufman '17
September 5, 2016
"Instead of coming back to campus with a set agenda to start a project of my own, I decided to consciously take a step back and learn from people who were already doing work in the community."

Lauren Maunus '19 is a Social Innovation Fellow, pursuing a venture designed to connect low-income communities with fresh, accessible local food.

Lauren Maunus
August 11, 2016

"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does." 

Gwendolene Mugodi
June 30, 2016
"I believe BRYTE to be an organization centered on radical love. On one level love means belief—a specific belief in young refugee students of color to change the world, maybe even to imagine a new world. On another level, love means breaking past common formulas—understanding the work and our role in it for what it is."

Ricardo Jaramillo is one of six coordinators of BRYTE (Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring & Enrichment), a program that pairs over 125 student tutors with refugee youth using a one-on-one, in-home tutoring model.

Ricardo Jaramillo '18
June 24, 2016
“The experience of running this program has changed the way I look at this issue dramatically… It’s taught me that rehabilitation is possible but extremely hard.”

Elena is a rising junior concentrating in Public Policy. She is also a participant of the TRI-Lab program, an initiative that brings together Brown students, faculty, and community practitioners to engage with complex social issues and develop solutions to these issues. The inspiration for the following story comes from the spring 2016 TRI-Lab, "Designing Education for Prison Health," which attempts to design better resources for health education within the criminal justice system.

Elena Weissmann '18
June 20, 2016

Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.

Methma Udawatta ‘16
June 14, 2016
When Foreclosure Sparks a Movement

Part 2: Malchus Mills

Roline Burgison and Malchus Mills have struggled to find stability in their gentrifying city of Providence. Foreclosed on and forced out of their homes, they came upon the Tenants and Homeowners' Association at DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), which fights to keep families in their homes, educates tenants about their rights, and organizes on a state-wide level to protect low-income communities of color from the injustice of displacement. Roline and Malchus found a home in and through DARE's activism.

Isabel Debre, Storyteller for Good
June 14, 2016

Providence is home to one of the most established slam communities in the country—a vibrant network of poets and artists who gather under the banner of the Providence Poetry Slam.

ProvSlam Youth, which mentors and support emerging poets, amplifies young voices and transforms lives by “equipping those who have stories with the means to tell them.”

And one young poet--who goes by the name of Sin Seven-- is on a winning streak.

He’s won every youth competition he’s been in this year, earning him a spot on the five-person team representing Providence (and the state of Rhode Island) in the Brave New Voices international slam poetry competition in Washington, DC this July.

But there was a time when he didn't always win...

Jack Brook, Storyteller for Good
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